Features January 2018

10 Years of Magical Moments and the Power of Pretend Play

Did you know 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the time they are 5 years old? It’s true research proves parents, grandparents, and caregivers can positively impact a child’s brain development and school readiness through play, which is what the Children’s Museum of Phoenix has been doing for almost 10 years.

Whether they dress up as a construction worker or pretend to be the cashier in a make-believe grocery store, all children learn through pretend play. As a mother of two daughters under five years old and an early childhood expert, I know the importance of allowing kids to make-believe.

Sure make-believe play seems like all fun, but it plays a critical role in children’s development. Pretend play allows kids to learn through action, being creative to solve problems and learn to work together.

• Social and emotional skills, including empathy, are developed as a child learns to walk in someone else’s shoes.
• Kids can also develop their language and communications skills.

One of my favorite places is the Children’s Museum of Phoenix because of all the places to pretend play! The grocery store is a family favorite. Parents can and should join in the pretend play by asking open-ended questions such as;
• “How many items do you have in your basket? “Can you sort the items by color?” – Helps kids build numeracy and math skills.
• “What items do we need to make bread?” – Thinking of items helps kids tap into their critical thinking and planning skills.

All kids develop at different rates, but they usually start to engage in imaginative play at around the age 3. The positive effects can last a lifetime, so encourage your child to pretend, have fun and follow their lead.

Join us for a night of magic at the 2018 Children’s Museum Gala!
Rebecca Light and Cathy Brown will be chairing the 2018 Children’s Museum Gala: 10 Years of Magical Moments will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2018 kicking off at 6 p.m., at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix in the historic Monroe School in downtown Phoenix. This $275 per ticket event will kick off The Museum’s 10th Birthday Celebration! The evening begins with a sumptuous sit-down dinner, entertainment, and live auction. After dinner, we’ll let loose with desserts from local eateries and music that will have you dancing the night away!

Gala proceeds support the Every Child Program, which provides 50,000 children and families who face financial, emotional, and circumstantial challenges free and reduced Museum admission. Tickets can be purchased here: childrensmuseumgala.org.

Written by: Cathy Brown


Cathy Brown

Cathy Brown is a First Things First Director. In this role, she is responsible for partnering with tribal leaders, state, and federal government officials, community leaders, private entities and faith-based groups to build the early childhood system, so children start school healthy and ready to succeed. In 2015, her leadership earned her the prestigious First Things First Eddie Basha Award. Cathy grew up in Phoenix and has lived in both El Salvador and Thailand. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Justice Studies from Arizona State University, and is currently studying International Business at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She and her husband Loren are parents of two young daughters, Kenzington and Bridget.

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